Comparing Real Estate Agents: Common Mistakes You Should Avoid

by Greg on November 14, 2013

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Finding a real estate agent that best suits your needs, and who can find you the best price can seem to be a simple affair. However, the process of choosing the real estate agent that is best placed to secure a speedy and profitable sale is a little more complicated than that.

Mistake #1: Picking the Agent who ‘promises’ the highest sales price

While it is completely reasonable for an agent to estimate a sale price, simply choosing the real estate agent who estimates the biggest sale price is a mistake. This is a ploy often used by unethical real estate agents, to lure you into listing a property with them (for those agents, this tactic will be followed by pressure to accept a lower offer once they have secured your listing).

A number of economic factors will determine how much you can expect to receive for your property, so a good agent will be able to qualify the estimated sale price with comparative market analysis. You should also ask the question: “In your last few sales, how much did you sell above or below the listing price?” to understand whether the agent has a tendency to over-promise and under-deliver.

A good agent will usually estimate a sale price range, be able to back his estimate up with recent sales performance data, and will have a track record of selling near to or above their initial listing prices. The best agents will strive to achieve the higher end of their range, and they will be confident about both their estimate and their ability to achieve a sale at that price.

Mistake #2: Favouring Agents who offer the lowest commission fees

Agents may try to lure you in with the promise of low commission rates, however there is little to be gained in securing the services of these agents if the services they offer are substandard. An agent with specific knowledge of your area and a demonstrable track record of sales success may charge a little more, but you will receive a premium service, and a higher sale price, which more than makes up for any differences in commission.

Instead of thinking about the rate of commission an agent charges, keep in mind how much money you will be left with when your property is finally sold – this could, in many instances, make paying a slightly higher rate of commission a financially sound decision.

Mistake #3: Interviewing only Agents who are chasing you

A great real estate agent will be in high demand, and they won’t have time to spend on endless cold calling, sending emails and knocking on doors. If you are being chased by an agent, you may want to ask yourself why they have the time to do it. Is it because there are other, more accomplished agents in the area winning business through reputation and referrals? The time an agent spends selling their own services is time not being spent on selling homes.

A far better approach is interviewing the most qualified agents: those with demonstrated relevant sales experience, guaranteed service levels, and satisfied past clients.

 Other tips

In the interview, look for agents who:

  • Know how to market a property: how do their other listings present?
  • Are responsive when you contact them and present their proposal to you in a professional manner
  • Get on with you: selling a home is stressful, and you want a team working with you that you are comfortable with

Choosing a great agent is critical to securing a quick and profitable property sale, so get online to do your research and use some of the tools available so you can be confident you are making the right decision.

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Jamie Martin

Jamie knows the ins and outs or real estate, having worked as a real estate agent himself at MRE property; he is now a relationship manager at OpenAgent.com.au. Here he has helped hundreds of clients find the perfect real estate agent, working with them to ensure they have a positive experience through the process of selling their homes.

OpenAgent.com.au is a free-to-use comparison service that gives people the opportunity to select the best real estate agent for their particular circumstances. Every active real estate agent in Australia is continually analysed and considered for OpenAgent clients, with over 1,000,000 property sales transactions and thousands of independent customer reviews.

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